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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Honey Pecan Date Truffles

It's the holiday season, and what is better then making decadent chocolate treats (and have the excuse to eat them?)  They look and tastes great as gifts too.

Truffles, while not technically difficult, are really time consuming to make.  They are much easier to work with when the centers are chilled and firm.  So if it doesn't feel like they want to come together, stick the mixture back in the freezer and try again in 5 minutes.  They do present wonderfully and just look on so cute in small boxes.  :-)

Chocolate Honey Pecan Date Truffles
Makes approx 36 truffles
Approx prep time: 1h 30mins
Refrigeration time: 25mins

- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 3/4 cups of chopped dates
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
- 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
- 1 3/4 cups of Rice Krispies
- 250g of dark chocolate, chopped (I prefer Valhrona)
For Coating:
- 1 cup of unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (optional)

- Melt butter with honey in a medium saucepan set over medium. 
- Stir in dates and simmer for 3 min. 
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and cereal. 
- Chill mixture in the freezer until completely cool, about 10-20 min. 
- Scoop with a tbsp measure and press firmly into 1 inch bite-sized balls.  The mixture has to be cold to the touch or else it won't hold together, also, if you have warm hands, cool them in cold water and dry your hands before working.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on medium for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute to make sure the chocolate on the sides don't burn or overheat.  
 - Once 80% of the chocolate has melted, remove and stir until completely melted, the bowl should not be hot to the touch. 
- Pour coconut into a small bowl and Cocoa Powder in another small bowl.
- Using 2 forks to hold balls (I used chocolate dipping tools), coat with chocolate, then roll in coconut or cocoa powder, or nothing at all and place on a waxed paper lined plate or baking sheet.
- Chill in refrigerator on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet until chocolate firms up, about 15 min. - Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Recipe referenced from:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cornbread Muffins

Nick's been asking me to make cornbread muffins for a month now, and I've been trying to find the perfect one.  It's odd that most of the cornbread recipes out there seem to have very little cornmeal and a lot of flour.  This recipe has half cornmeal and half flour and uses butter rather then vegetable oil.  It's now a staple in our home and made weekly, and best of all... it takes less then half an hour to make from start to finish! 

Corn Bread Muffins
Makes: 12 muffins
approx prep time: 10 min
approx cook time: 15 mins

- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of cornmeal
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup of melted butter

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Brush melted butter on the muffin pan
- In a large mixing bowl, mix milk and cornmeal together, set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, mix flour, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt (the dry ingredients).
- Add egg and melted butter to the cornmeal and milk mixture, then add in the dry ingredients.
- Mix until combined.
- Spoon batter evenly into the greased muffin pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until sides are golden brown, top is golden yellow, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
- Serve with butter or a dollop of your favourite jam.  
- Store in room temperature for up to one week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jam Filled Butter Cookies made with Egg Yolks

The holiday season is among us, and what better to celebrate then to make lots of delicious and not diet friendly treats!  I've been doing a lot of holiday baking lately, and while making french macarons (recipe that I will post later), there's always the problem with leftover egg yolks.  What do I do with them?  I had the option of turning them into creme brulee but I wanted something where I could make lots of them and that everyone could enjoy without feeling too much guilt.  

What did I come up with?  

Jam filled butter cookies made with egg yolks.

They were bite size, easy to make, keeps well for up to one week, a great way to use up leftover jam in the fridge, and accomplished my main goal, which was not to let egg yolks go to waste.

Jam Filled Butter Cookies
Makes 88 bite-sized cookies
approx prep time: 30 min
approx cook time: 10 mins (per batch)

- 1.5 cups of softened room temperature butter
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2.5 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of fruit jam with the large pieces of fruit mashed into small bits.

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, and white sugar.
- Add in egg yolks, salt and vanilla extract and mix together. 
- Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. 
- Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until dough is firm enough to work with. 
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls.   
- Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
- Use your finger (I prefer the index finger knuckle) or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. 
- Spoon fruit preserve into a ziplock bag (I prefer a medium sized ziplock freezer bag as it is thicker and easier to handle).  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.
- Pipe or Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
- Store in room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.